What Can You Tell Me About Document Management?

Document management involves the day-to-day capture, storage, modification and sharing of physical and/or electronic files within an organization.

Generally speaking, document management focuses on:

  • Reducing lost and misfiled documents.
  • Providing faster search and retrieval of documents.
  • Helping to better organize existing documents.
  • Improving general work processes and organizational efficiency.
  • Reducing the amount of physical space used to store documents, such as file cabinets, boxes and shelving.

Primary Goal

The goal of document management is efficiency. Approving documents faster, reducing manual data entry and automating recurring tasks are some of the many functions of document management that work toward this goal.

Want to learn more? Contact Melken Solutions for additional information.

Outsource or not?

In the current environment, it is important that organizations find ways to stand out, tighten their operations, and increase their revenues while keeping expenses low. As many businesses struggle to stay ahead of the competition, the day-to-day operations of the business are more than enough to keep management busy, especially in smaller businesses where owners or managers wear many hats. Choosing to use an experienced outsourcing partner may allow businesses the ability to grow, rather than simply attempting to maintain the status quo.

Experienced vendor partners also provide a significant amount of value for an organization. They can help to develop strategies for growth or manage projects. Since vendor partners are not committed to a single organization, they bring experience from a variety of companies and industries, which allows them to offer creative solutions and enables “out of the box” thinking. They can vendor-partnerprovide an objective viewpoint, which allows for more diverse ideas than could be provided solely by employees within the organization. A vendor partner may have a higher level of business expertise than the average employee and can provide unique solutions for businesses. Companies may want to consider the advantages of the level of expertise that can be brought by an experienced vendor partner, as well as how they could benefit from having an established strategic plan.

Business Advantages For Electronic Documents Over Paper Documents

Recent statistics on document management suggest that over 80% of companies still run their business with information that still exists in a paper-based format. If you’re a millennial this may seem unbelievable to you. If you grew up watching TV before the Internet, that statistic does not seem odd, does it?

Regardless of your age, electronic documents have boundless appeal as the preferred medium for content creation, storage, editing, and dissemination.

Here are some specific benefits your organization will enjoy after making the shift from paper documents to electronic documents to run your business.

  • Save Space – Think of the number of hardcopy documents you produce every day. Where do they all go?
  • Disaster-Proof – Why does it take horrible disasters like a hurricane, fire or flood to make people think defensively? If your business faced some form of disaster, do you have a business continuity plan that includes access to your important business records? Electronic documents give you an advantage over the unexpected.
  • Editable – Most business documents require edits and revisions during their life cycle, especially those that require collaboration or multiple parties participating in the content creation. Electronic files allow for easy editing and version control that keeps the content fresh and accessible to all approved parties.
  • Loss Prevention – According to a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers 7% of all paper-based information gets misfiled and 3.5% of all hardcopy documents are lost. Electronic documents provide quick and easy storage and retrieval capabilities so people can easily find the files they’re looking for.
  • Security Protection – Unsecured filing cabinets, paper sitting in printer output trays and even files on people’s desks are all examples of hot spots where the wrong eyes could see what they shouldn’t. Employee records, financial information, pricing documents, and client records can be very vulnerable. Electronic documents provide access control measures for peace of mind.
  • Save Time – If a person makes $50,000 per year, they cost your company roughly $25 per hour. If this employee takes an hour searching for one or more hardcopy documents, you’ve just lost two hours of time. The hour spent searching and the hour the person could have spent using the information. Electronic documents can be located quickly without leaving your desk.
  • Find It Fast – Have you ever gone looking for a hardcopy document and found something else that was actually better for the task at hand? Sure you have. This is the power of electronic documents. Search capabilities allow you to perform a search, much like doing a search on Google, on all the information that relates to the topic at hand. Being able to search content topics allows for faster recovery and better business decisions.
  • Document Management – Email is not a document management system built for sharing information, even though most people try to use it as such! Sharing the correct version of the right document can be challenging in an online workgroup setting. Electronic documents break down silos of storage and accessibility issues so all members can collaborate on documentation to achieve the best result.
  • Save Money – Depending on the type of printer you are using, a printed page will cost you anywhere from a penny to a dollar. Electronic documents cost you nothing. This is why so many companies are leveraging scanning as their on-ramp to digital documents. Printing less will cost less.

Are you leveraging electronic documents yet? Maybe now is the time for you to start with an electronic document strategy.

Contact Melken Solutions to learn more.

Why Should You Scan Your Documents?

There are several beneficial reasons you should scan your documents:

  1. Cost savings: Storing and managing paper documents is expensive, especially if you rely on file cabinets for document storage and retrieval. A standard four-drawer file cabinet requires approximately eight cubic feet of floor space, which can be a significant portion of your office lease. In addition to that, you need to factor in the cost of time for you or your employees to find and retrieve documents. Document scanning allows you to store and retrieve documents electronically, which reduces storage costs and provides greater work efficiency.
  2. Information sharing: Paper-based systems are inherently inefficient. Documents need to be printed or photocopied so several people can view them at the same time. Document scanning enables information to be shared digitally for enhanced collaboration and improved customer response times.
  3. Environmental stewardship: Document scanning benefits both your business and the environment. By converting your hard copy records to digital images, you use less paper and toxic printer ink and reduce mailing processes that increase your carbon footprint. 

Document Scanning Mistakes

For those who are just starting their journey toward the thought of becoming a “paper-less” office, there are a lot of things to consider. While many may think of scanning documents as a simple process, it can be a challenging effort or become overwhelming if you don’t have a full grasp on what it takes to get that sheet of paper into your computer.

Many businesses begin the document conversion process thinking – “If I scan this file, I will be able to find it later on electronically, thus creating business efficiencies”. Considering the processes to make this happen, they think it is as simple as going to one of the box stores and purchasing a low-cost scanner or even better, just utilizing the MFC that already exists in the office. However, with over 10 Years of experience in helping clients with their document scanning and conversion efforts, suffice it to say that we have seen projects started by in-house teams go less than well.

Please indulge us as we share with you some of the Most Common Mistakes that we have seen businesses make when starting a document scanning effort and provide you with some insights on how you can avoid them:

Include Everyone

It is common to not include the entire team in the effort. Make sure the major stakeholders are involved from the infant stages of the project and engage as many non-stakeholders as possible for input and feedback. Understanding often fosters acceptance, thus adding to the effectiveness of the project.

Fear of Change

Too many organizations are close minded when it comes to re-engineering their processes, falling back on the way they’ve done things in the past. The best strategy for helping your staff overcome their fear of change is to get them involved early in the process and let them see the technology run firsthand. Once they understand the technology and how it WILL make their life easier, they’ll recognize the impact it will have on business efficiency and their personal productivity.

Make sure you have the right size tool to do the job.

There are a lot of numbers that get circulated around in scanner spec sheets, but somehow the one that most people seem to pay the most attention to is speed. For most document imaging applications, scanner speed is going to be important to the overall efficiency, but it really is just one of the things you should consider when selecting a document scanner. When you purchase a scanner for your office, you want to make sure you consider the volume of documents that you plan on scanning. In fact, you want to outfit your business with the proper size scanner for your specific needs. Therefore, investing in a properly sized scanner is indeed a great solution that will alleviate a ton of issues later.

To make the right decisions, you’ll need to consider the amount of work that you’re trying to accomplish and make sure that the scanner has not only the appropriate speed capabilities, but also that it handles the daily volume and has the image enhancement technology that the project calls for.

Because there are big price differences between buying a scanner to help address a backfile conversion and a day-forward project, it will often make sense to outsource the high-volume scanning work to a Document Scanning and Conversion Service company. This will enable you to purchase a scanner that will address your ongoing needs and save you thousands of dollars on equipment. At the same time, you’ll also benefit from reduced labor costs by paying a flat price per image instead of paying scanning temps or training your own staff to get up to speed.

Relying on OCR as the main source of document search

It might be more accurate to call refer to this as the “PDF Syndrome.” The full-text PDF has done such a great job of convincing users that any and every document can be found based on the words within the pages that proper indexing has become an oversight for far too many companies. We’ve seen many new technologies for classifying content and automated indexing of scanned pages, but for effective document management, there is not a bigger mistake then relying OCR technology as your only reference point to documents. OCR is a fantastic technology, but it’s not 100% accurate.

When you’re capturing business documents, you need to be sure that you’re able to not only find ONE document that meets your search criteria, but very often you need to find ALL the documents relating to a specific client/customer/patient/transaction. OCR (or Optical Character Recognition) cannot provide you with the accuracy to ensure that this is going to be the case on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that 90% accuracy will only get you 9 out of 10 Digits in a Social Security Number, meaning that you won’t be able to find the right document a fair percentage of the time.

Instead, you must rely on a combination of tools and methods to be sure that you can find the documents that you’re looking for, when you need them. These tried and true methods are the only sure bet to locating documents when you need them later. An even better source is the use of a Document/Information Management System.

Manually keying all index data

The idea of tagging all your documents with index information, or keywords, may seem like a daunting task. If you are scanning medical records, for example, you may want to tag all your files with a name, patient ID Number, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, etc. If you consider the number of keystrokes that it would take to attach this data to all your document, it probably seems like it would take less time to just keep the paper in a folder and not scan it at all. It doesn’t have to be this hard!

Not capturing useful index information

When you start scanning files, it’s critical that you make sure that you attach meaningful data to the documents being scanned! Each time that you start a scanning project, you need to consider the ways that you may want to get back to that file at some time in the future, so be sure to attach data that is going to be relevant both now and in the future.

Not Properly Vetting Your Document Scanning Provider

Not all document scanning service providers are the same. The firm you choose should be a partner, guiding you throughout the entire lifecycle of your scanning needs. Before signing an agreement, make sure to ask plenty of questions about the provider’s services, practices, protocols and past clients.

Setting Up for Success

Document scanning can help your business become more productive and give it a competitive edge. Scanning a large volume of records can be daunting for any business, especially if your company doesn’t have the experience or resources.

Before embarking on your digital transformation journey, take time to plan and understand the numerous factors involved. Avoiding these common document scanning mistakes can help set your business up for success.

It’s that time of year again!

hurricane
Prepare yourself in case of a natural disaster.

If you are reading this and live in Florida, then you are very much aware that on June 1, we officially will kick-off the 2019 Hurricane Season. According to The Weather Channel the 2019 Hurricane Season  is expected to slightly above average. While they can predict (tounge-in-cheek) the amount of hurricanes that will dance around the Atlantic, what they are unable to predict with 100% certanitiy is where will a storm make landfall,

Are you prepared or are you making preparations in the unlikely case that a storm dances your way? From natural disasters like hurricanes to common issues such as robbery and hardware failures, your business may be particularly vulnerable during a time of crisis.  While a catastrophic disaster may easily destroy a business in seconds, most business owners are unprepared for even common events, such as flooding or fires.  Ensuring that your business is protected when an emergency strikes is a wise investment that is essential to the long term success of your company.

Disaster planning should be highly detailed, and business owners/managers should take extra time to review the plan to ensure they’re not forgetting important aspects of protecting their companies. A number of online disaster prep resources are available from federal and state government agencies, and some include checklists that will help owners/managers decide what they need to do.

The sites include:

Protect Your Employees

The most important measure a business owner can take during a time of crisis is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the employees.  Your business should have an emergency plan that will provide protection for every employee, visitor and client in the event of a sudden calamity.   The emergency plan should make provisions for severe-weather sheltering, an evacuation or a lock-down in the event of an act of violence.  Having an emergency plan in place will not only help you keep yourself and your employees safe, but will enable your business to recover from a crisis more quickly.

Have A Plan

A second measure that you should take as a business owner to ensure the survival of the business through a natural disaster is to familiarize yourself with your insurance policies.  Review the fine print of your property insurance policy and your business interruption insurance.  Make sure your policies still provide sufficient coverage, especially if your business has experienced growth.  In addition to this, your business should also have an alternate work site and backup suppliers and vendors in the event that a natural disaster should affect the efficiency of your primary providers.

Back Up Important Data

Finally, having a digital backup of your company’s important data is essential in ensuring the survival of your business through a natural disaster.  All critical data, including accounting records, customer lists, inventory records and employee data, should be stored and maintained by an online backup service provider.  Ensuring that all of your critical company information has been scanned and is stored off-site is essential to your company’s ability to endure through a catastrophe such as a fire or a flood.

Conclusion

If your business does not have a contingency plan in place, create one today.  Preparing your employees and your business for a crisis is essential to ensuring that your business will survive a disaster.

Time Is Money

Electronic document management saves time, saves money and saves the environment. In today’s technology driven enfironment, an effective electronic document management solution should be an important part of every organization regardless of the industry.

As long as there are documents around, organizations will utilize all the ways to effectively manage them. In many industries, using paper files has become inefficient. The document management process has become digitized, making all documents immediately accessible to more than just a few people.

Securing paper files requires locked filing cabinets, sign-out sheets and security protocols to ensure the safety of documents. These methods proved not only ineffective, but time-consuming as well.

Another advantage of having an electronic document  management solution is more free space. All the space that file cabinets full of paper documents take up can be repurposed into more work space or allow the company the ability to downsize the office.

Stop Wasting Time Searching for Paper Documents

Paper-based work environments leads to workers losing six or more hours searching for documents every week. Whereas, those who work in digitally-based environments wasted virtually no time searching for documents.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, finding a lost document will cost a company $122 on average. It is also estimated that 7.5% of all company documents are lost completely. Let’s assume your company works with 10,000 documents – an extremely light figure. That would mean, about 750 of those documents are doomed to be lost, ultimately costing your company around $91,500. Plus, if you had to recreate any lost documents, the time and supplies involved would make that number jump well over the $100,000 mark.

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